Earth Liberation Front saboteur pleads guilty

Associated Press/December 5, 2002

Portland, Ore. -- An Earth Liberation Front saboteur who faced 40 years in prison for torching three logging trucks pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Jacob D.B. Sherman, 20, of Portland, signed a plea agreement that would allow him to serve 41 months in federal custody. Sentencing was set for Feb. 20.

Sherman is one of four people charged in the June 2001 arson of logging trucks near Estacada to protest the contested Eagle Creek timber sale. He and fellow activist Michael J. Scarpitti, also known as Tre Arrow, also are accused of the April 2001 arson of three cement trucks at Portland's Ross Island Sand & Gravel. Scarpitti remains a fugitive.

Andrew Bates, Sherman's attorney, declined comment on behalf of his client, but issued a statement saying he deeply regretted his actions.

"He never intended to place anyone in harm's way and was only trying to protect our old-growth forests and the earth," Bates wrote. "He realizes that, while the protection of our environment is a just cause, his participation in setting these fires was an unacceptable and counterproductive means of protests. The end cannot justify the means."

While Bates declined comment about the case, he said in court that his client had given substantial help to the authorities as part of a "long and drawn-out process."

Sherman began cooperating with federal agents about one month after his August arrest, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Noonan said. The cooperation, along with his youth and lack of prior crimes, accounted for the relatively light sentence, he said.

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